黑暗是滋生滥权和恐惧的温床。在本案中，真正关乎公共利益的讯息，并不是支联会这么多年做过些什么事，而是公权力在以国家安全之名做些什么。真正应该“交出”的资料，是国安行事的准则和理据，是他们凭什么可以将一个植根本地 30 多年的组织，一夕之间打成是外国的和违法的。
况且，我们如若顺从，那外国势力的标签就再也脱不下了，香港人 30 多年的坚持，就会因为我们的退让，变成了名不正言不顺的外部阴谋，变了不再是属于我们自己的运动。我们退无可退，我们必须如此。
因为国安说我们 30 多年的烛光集会都是危害国家安全的罪证，我这阵子重温了不少集会的片段。我看著烛光背后的一对对眼睛——沧桑的、年轻的、含泪的、坚定的、善良的、普通的、独特的、真诚的——我就知道，我永远不可能背弃这些目光。顺从或认罪，代表的从来不只是我们自己，而是这千万对眼睛。他们都不是无知无觉的棋子，我亦无权代他们承认这种侮辱。
Although the Court has ruled us guilty, the trial has already proved our innocence.
We know as a matter of fact that we are not foreign agents. Throughout the trial we were also able to see how the police’s accusation was utterly baseless. We saw clearly how speaking the truth, seeking accountability and defending human rights were all acts endangering national security in the police’s books. We saw clearly how the so-called criminal investigation was in fact an inquisition of legitimate speech and actions that stretched back to ages past, back to well before the enforcement of the National Security Law (NSL), even back to before Hong Kong’s handover.
If we have acquiesced to the wrongful labelling of ourselves as foreign agents, and quietly submitted to the unreasonable demands of the national security police, then what had been revealed through the trial would have been forever kept in the dark.
On the surface this is but a technical case of non-compliance with an information request. Yet such apparent simplicity belies the importance of information to the new era heralded by the NSL.
The government says that in the name of national security, it can have almost unlimited power to demand all sorts of information from a citizen. Further, in the name of national security, it needs not even explain the basis of the demand.
When the people become ever more transparent before the government, yet the government becomes ever more opaque before the people, then the people risk turning from the master of the government into its slaves. And the so-called “national security” would just become another perfect pretext to make such slavery.
Information is power and those in power know that well. This is why they have to bury the truth of the Tiananmen Massacre. This is why they have to complete the legislation of the NSL in secret. This is why they have tried all they can to stop us from knowing and exposing their absurd allegation against the Hong Kong Alliance. This trial itself is the best example of such tactic – although it was conducted in an open court, but in the name of “public interest”, all the key information was redacted or could only be referred to in a roundabout manner. Not even Your Worship could have a full grasp of the relevant facts. Even if the public was free to attend and journalists free to report, nothing of substance could be seen or said. Open justice degrades to a mere formality.
Darkness is the surest breeding ground for abuse and fear. The key information that has been missing in this stage is not what the Alliance had done over its long and public existence, what the authorities were and are still doing in the name of national security. The information that should have been handed over is the basis and criteria of the police determination, a proper explanation of how they could relegate a well respected local organisation to the rank of being foreign and criminal all of a sudden.
Sadly with the current imbalance of power between the people and the government, it is much harder to obtain information from the government than the other way around. When the government wants information from a citizen, all it needs to do is to issue a letter. If the citizen wants some explanation in return, he or she must risk becoming a criminal in fighting back. Yet this is both necessary and worth doing. If the information thus obtained can check the worsening abuse of power somewhat, then imprisonment is a price we gladly pay.
Furthermore, if we had complied with the national security police’s order, the label of “foreign agent” would have stuck with us forever. The perseverance of the Hong Kong people for over three decades would turn into a sinister foreign plot and thus, becoming something that is no longer our own. This is unacceptable. We could not back down.
We must, with the most unambiguous response, proclaim to the authorities and the world that seeking justice for the Tiananmen Massacre and ending one party dictatorship are all along the demands of the people living here on this land. They are not the result of so-called incitement or foreign interference but stemmed from the value of conscience and dignity inherent in each of us.
The sea of candlelights in Victoria Park was impressive not because of the grandeur of the imagery, but because there was an autonomous inpidual behind each flickering flame. It is not a scene that could be produced by any machination of state power, foreign or local.
Since the national security police claimed that our 30 years of candlelight vigil are evidence of our criminality, I have spent much time rewatching videos of those events recently. I looked into the eyes behind those tiny flames – some wizened, some youthful, some teary, some shone with resolve, others with kindness; all so ordinary yet unique and above all sincere – and I know there and then I can never betray those eyes. Our plea or compliance has never been a decision that concerns only ourselves; but represents those thousands and thousands pairs of eyes. None of them is a mindless tool of foreign forces, nor do I have the right to submit to such indignity on their behalf.
Denying that we are foreign agents is not about cutting foreign ties. On the contrary, precisely because we wish to defend our freedom to interact with the international community, we must speak up against such loaded labelling and debunk the false assumptions behind it.
The criminal framework targeting so-called foreign agents reflects a worldview that regards all political organisations as the extension of an unified state, which must necessarily align with the interest of a state. It reflects a tendency to equate politics with treachery and power struggle. This is the totalitarian mindset which we reject. Politics can and should be normal. Politics is but people’s attempt to build a good life. It can and should be a response to every human’s urge to be kind and just, to be social yet autonomous, and to live a life true to the values we hold dear.
Human nature transcends national borders and values are above nationality. The movement for human rights and democracy is by nature a movement that stands above national boundaries, especially when the state itself is often the source of oppression. In the international arena, members of the civil society have the right to express narratives alternative to the state’s, and to connect and cooperate with different civil and political organisations from around the world, without being classified as enemies or criminals. I also hope that freedom-loving people from around the world can continue to stand with us, and not fall into the trap of isolating those on the ground in a counterproductive attempt to “protect” us from the false charge of being a “foreign agent”.
In fact the biggest threat to the people of the country has always been from within, not without. It is the domestic, unrestricted power that killed the most – as demonstrated by Tiananmen and countless historical tragedies. Rather than hyping up the illusionary threat of “foreign agents”, what we should guard against is instead those self-appointed leaders who claim to rule in our name.
As proud members of the Hong Kong civil society, we have no obligation to obey the law regulating foreign agents. But we have the duty to call out abuses of power, and to defend our common freedom and dignity. We have done our part, and have no regrets.
Your Worship, truth speaks for itself. To rule us guilty under the factual circumstances of the case does not take away the Hong Kong Alliance’s legitimacy, but the law’s legitimacy. Henceforth, we know how hollow and out of touch with reality the police allegation of “foreign agent” can be. In turn, this label has lost all ability to convince and degrade. This is our victory, regardless what sentence this court may impose.
As opposed to making false allegations and being secretive, all we have been insisting on is to defend our dignity based on truth and openness. If the Court considers the former right and the latter wrong, then please do sentence me to the heaviest sentence.